Easter longer than Christmas? Why not? In Iceland Easter is called Páskar and it is celebrated for five days. Have a look how people spend this special time of the year far away in the North.
First of all, Easter in Iceland is full of fun and relaxing ease of manner. There is no option of sitting at the table in an elegant shirt with a tie. Due to the fact that the celebration stretches for five days, Icelanders treat Easter as a great time to get around. Those most tired of unbearable and definitely too long winter pack their suitcases and travel to warmer and more sunny countries. However, the biggest group of Icelanders travels not abroad but across the island, visiting family members and friends. Many of them also come around the popular and beloved music festival in the capital of the West Fjords, Ísafjörður, called ‘Aldrei fór ég suður’. If the weather is good (or like usually in Iceland, if it’s quite good), Icelanders love to take long strolls and ride their horses. Apart from that, they eagerly barbeque, but often they are forced to consume just prepared grilled delicacies at home because of cold gusts of wind.
Icelanders most often grill their favorite meat – lamb. Endless chit-chats with long-lost friends are often accompanied by liquors. Yup, Easter in Iceland sometimes can be a little bit boozy. In the old days, drinking alcohol during Páskar was not very welcome, what’s more on Good Friday and Holy Sunday it was strictly forbidden. Nowadays Icelanders enjoy their freedom and happily delight in high percentage beverages.
‘Hot and cold’ – let’s play!
Every Icelandic kid waits impatiently with a blush on the cheeks for Easter Sunday (Páskadagur). This day is a really great deal for all children and it provides a lot of excitement. In the morning kids start to look for sweets hidden by their parents. In search for the treats, they comb all sorts of home’s nooks. We are talking not about standard candies, but extraordinary chocolate eggs called Páskaegg. This custom appeared in Iceland around 1920, however initially the eggs were made from cardboard and sweets only filled their interiors. Time brought some changes and even more pleasant modifications; the eggs kept the appetising interior while gaining a chocolate crust. Moreover, you can choose among their sizes, from small to giant. The biggest chocolate lovers have an opportunity to find even a head size Páskaegg! Well, finding a suitable hideout for it must be a big challenge.
Lemon on the rise!
Icelanders know well how to keep the Easter bliss. Fantastic atmosphere, tasty snacks and pastries. One of the most popular cakes in Iceland is so called skyr cake (skyr kaka), an interesting version of no-bake cheesecake with skyr, an Icelandic dairy product similar to cream cheese (we’ve written about skyr before). Skyr cake is not a kind of typical Easter cake, Icelanders eat it all year round, but for us, it matches perfectly this occasion. We would like to share with you our own version of this cake, which should satisfy even most demanding foodies. So let’s talk about our lemon skyr tart: crispy base, extremely light, creamy and melting in the mouth filling and in the crown, extremely refreshing lemon curd in the company of blueberries. Sounds good, doesn’t it? Besides, it’s certainly delicious and so tempting! Happy Easter! Gleðilega Páska!
Icelandic skyr tart
Ingredients (28 cm form):
- 300 g digestive biscuits
- 75 g melted unsalted butter
- butter to grease the form
| Skyr/cheese mass
- natural skyr 350 g (you can use 250 g mascarpone + 1 cup Greek style yoghurt instead)
- half cup powdered sugar
- 1 lemon zest and juice
- 1 stick vanilla seeds
- 1 cup 30% cream (cool)
- 10 g gelatine powder (or 3 leaves) + 50 ml water
| Lemon curd
- 3 yolks
- 2 lemons (juice)
- 120 g unsalted butter
- 80 g powdered sugar
- 100 g blueberries
Crush the biscuits in a plastic bag using a rolling pin. Put them into a bowl and add melted butter.
Press the biscuit mixture into the base of a greased tart form.
| Skyr/cheese mass
Put skyr (or mascarpone and Greek yoghurt), powdered sugar, vanilla seeds, lemon juice and zest into a bowl. Using a mixer, beat everything until smooth and creamy.
Add 50 ml cold water to gelatin and leave it for about 10 min. Then simmer, stirring gently, until gelatine dissolves completely. Prevent it from boiling – gelatine loses its properties when boiled. Leave it to cool.
When gelatine is still warm, add a spoon of skyr mass and mix well, then add another spoon and mix again. Gelatin prepared that way add to skyr mass and mix it with a mixer.
Whip cream. Add it to skyr mass and mix it with a spoon.
Pour onto the prepared base of the cake. Cover with a big plate, and refrigerate for a few hours.
| Lemon curd
Put powdered sugar, yolks and lemon juice into a small pot. Simmer it, stirring constantly to avoid any lumps. Don’t let it overcook!
Add butter cut into small cubes and simmer until you get a smooth cream.
When the lemon curd has cooled down, pour it onto the cake, refrigerate overnight.
- Serve topped with blueberries.
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